William Shakespeare in The Tempest negates the idea that physical beauty is a signifier for something greater than mere aesthetic value. Through the deformed, savage-like character Caliban, Shakespeare explores the idea that moral character and intelligence are qualities that are frequently wrongly judged by someone’s physical appearance.
Caliban’s physical descriptions are often charged with diction that describes him as non-human, undomesticated and animal-like such as “freckled whelp” (Shakespeare I, 2)— which connotes his different and flawed appearance by being “freckled” and his bestial nature by being a “whelp”. Furthermore, diction to connote Caliban is the offspring of a witch or ...
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...ems to be subtlety and dramatic comedy surrounding the characterization of some characters like Belinda— the nymphs’ priorities are laid out front and clear by Pope. He describes their life to be “predestined to the gnomes’ embracing” and their “vacant brains” crowded with “gay ideas” (Pope I, 80). This characterization seems to mimic the broader revocation of the whole society itself, where women live a life dedicated to male acceptance— “never once offends” (Pope II, 12) and their minds are absent of any opinionated thought —“a sprightly Mind disclose” (II, 9). Through the hyperbolized treatment of beauty and mockery of vanity, Pope successfully subverts physical beauty’s importance by revealing the character’s foolishness the same way the contrast of Caliban’s beastiality and his sophisticated poetic verse subverts the connection of ones appearance to intellect.
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